Hailing from the mysterious countryside of Laos, Pumpkin Coconut Custard is pure sweet comfort food, Asian style. Soft, moist pumpkin is filled with creamy coconut custard then baked into sweet dessert deliciousness.
Okay so I’m gonna straight up level with you.
We’d actually planned to share a different recipe today.
But you know what? To be totally honest, neither of us was feeling it.
We didn’t have that fire in our guts to share it with you – now, now NOW – the way we normally do.
And we think you deserve better than that.
So instead of sharing the how-to’s of a basic pesto recipe that surely everyone knows by now (or you’ve got your favourite store brand sorted already), we’re going for something completely different.
Something suitably quirky, Wandercooks style.
Full of exotic worldly flavours, yet sweet and soft and moreish all at the same time.
Yep. That’s MUCH more like it.
We even have the seal of approval from our housemate – although her first reaction was “Why is it in a pumpkin!?”
Quick note: There may be a couple of affiliate links in this post, which means that we may get a few cents if you purchase something through the link. We want to make sure some of our hard-to-find ingredients are reachable at the click of a button. If you have any questions feel free to contact us.
We were doing what we do best: Following our noses around this corner and that. Wandering laneways, dodging scooters, and scouring the town for unexpected foodie discoveries.
And then we found the Pumpkin Coconut Custard Man.
Or rather, we found Pumpkin Man’s stall outside his home, laid out with slices of baked pumpkins filled with coconut infused custard (the flavour of which we figured out later through sophisticated taste-testing methods 😛 😛 ).
It took us a few goes to get his attention, engrossed as he was in a Lao drama on his TV. But we managed to draw him outside and let him know we just HAD to try his quirky looking dessert.
One bite of that softly sweet pumpkin stuffed with creamy coconut custard and we were hooked.
Lao Pumpkin Coconut Custard
Lao Pumpkin Coconut Custard is super easy to make at home, and the best part is that you won’t have to hunt for any hard-to-find ingredients.
All you need is:
- A nice round punkin (ooh how Sarah hates it when I call them that 😛 ), not too big, yet deep enough to hold a decent amount of coconut custard.
- A few eggs
- Some coconut cream (or coconut milk with an extra dash of normal milk for creaminess)
- A scoop of caster sugar
- A dash of vanilla essence
- And a pinch salt
Now I know it sounds like a strange mix. But trust us, this Southeast Asian dessert is a keeper.
Arguably the hardest part of making Pumpkin Coconut Custard is carving through the top of the pumpkin, something I was more than happy to leave to Sarah.
She was so excited to pull out the massive cleaver we’ve had in our utensil drawer forever and never had the excuse to use…
(As I type, I’m sitting here watching her out of the corner of my eye, hoping that she’ll have all her fingers by the time I finish this sentence. Phew!)
…but to be honest you can use any sharp knife and it’ll be just as good (and probably easier).
Okay now all you awesome American readers, we need your help.
What are some quick and easy ways to prepare a pumpkin? It was just like Halloween over here this morning, except being Australians our pumpkin carving skills are woefully under-trained. 😛
If you’ve got any tips please spill the beans in the comments below.
And to all our Australian friends, it’s pumpkin season here right now. So we’ve got plenty of time to practice before Halloween rolls around in October. 😉
A couple of quick notes about cooking this recipe:
- Hot water is a key ingredient to make sure your pumpkin coconut custard
cooks / steams to perfection while it bakes. So don’t forget to pour an inch or so in your baking dish (not in the pumpkin, in case you were wondering 😉 ) before popping it all in the oven. Without the water, your pumpkin won’t get that lovely soft melty texture that makes this dish so lovely. We may or may not have learned both of these tips the hard way… >.> <.<
- Make sure to choose a smaller pumpkin. If it’s too big, the custard won’t set and all you’ll get is a runny mess. It’s okay for the custard to be ever-so-slightly… jiggly? Is jiggly the right word? I don’t know. I’m going with jiggly… when it’s finished cooking. It will set even further once it’s out of the oven and cooled down to room temperature. You can make this happen a little quicker by clearing a shelf in your fridge and popping in there for an hour or so.
So there you have it. A soft, sweet and satisfying Lao dessert using everyday, easy to find ingredients. What do you think? Super keen to hear how you go so don’t forget to leave a comment below.
Lao cuisine is super satisfying and packed with interesting flavour combinations. Make your own Lao banquet at home with this delicious Lao Steamed Fish and a side of these Spicy Lao Dips (don’t forget a slice of Pumpkin Coconut Custard for dessert 😛 :P). Oooh, and if you’re looking for breakfast deliciousness, check out our veggie-packed Simple Lao Omelette.
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- Preheat your oven to 150 degrees celsius.
- Slice a circle into the top of your pumpkin and scoop out the seeds, then pop the hollow pumpkin in a baking dish and set aside.
- Crack those eggs into a mixing bowl and throw in your sugar, vanilla essence and salt. Whisk whisk whisk til evenly mixed, then pour in your coconut cream and whisk a bit more.
- Pour the creamy custard mixture into your pumpkin, and a little hot water into your baking dish (aim for a couple of centimetres / 1 inch if you can). This'll help steam the pumpkin as it bakes. Now pop it in your oven and pop the kettle on for a cup of tea. You've got an hour and a half to wait until pumpkin and custard are cooked. Don't forget to check the custard occasionally by poking in a clean knife. If it comes out clean, your custard is set!
- Take out your pumpkin coconut custard deliciousness and allow to cool down to room temperature before slicing and serving.